Jetstar defends against union allegations

by Jessica MCILHINNEY on December 1, 2010

Jetstar has made a landmark decision to make public confidential pilot training and performance results as it seeks to defend itself against union criticism over low safety standards.

The move, which will see all information released to Fairfax Media, is an effort to combat recent union allegations claiming the airline has lowered its safety procedures. Leading up to a Senate inquiry today, Qantas’ budget subsidiary has taken to defending its pilot training, promotion and recruitment processes.

According to Jetstar Group boss Bruce Buchanan, all evidence from the airline will strongly support that the seniority of a pilot does not necessarily equal quality. Mr Buchanan adds that Jetstar’s policy is to promote pilots on a basis of competency and not merely using a seniority-based system.

The defence comes as Joe Eakins, a Jetstar pilot that was sacked, prepares to give testimony during an Australian and International Pilots Association submission today during a public Senate hearing in Sydney.

Jetstar sacked the pilot after he sent an opinion piece into Fairfax Media warning that Australia’s aviation safety standards were threatened by lowered reliance on promoting senior pilots and ‘offshoring’ aircrews.

So far, the Senate inquiry has received 44 submissions. Mr Buchanan said that the competency-based system is enormous comfort for the evaluation of recruitment and promotional decisions and eliminates promotions based solely on seniority.

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